This is the second part of my journaling journey and this time I wanted to share some personal tips on how to start with journaling. In the first part I explain why I started and why it became such a powerful tool to navigate through life’s challenges. And how I even made it through grief and become a stronger person.
This is just a guide from my personal experience, journaling is not for everyone but worth trying. Journaling provides us with a space to reflect and listen to ourselves. Sometimes, amidst the noise and busyness of life, we forget that all the answers we seek are already within us. Journaling allows us to take the time to listen to our inner voice, to make room for it, and to discover the wisdom and clarity it holds. If you're curious about journaling, give it a try and see if it works for you. Remember that journaling is a flexible and personal practice – feel free to experiment and find what works best for you.
Who should start journaling? Find your Why.
In my opinion everyone can benefit from journaling but it might be especially helpful for anyone who wants to improve their mental health and wellbeing. Numerous studies have shown that journaling has lots benefits on your mental health and I have seen firsthand the impact consistent journaling can make in my life. Some people who may particularly benefit from journaling include:
- People dealing with stress or anxiety
- Those coping with grief or loss
- Individuals with chronic pain or illness
- Anyone seeking greater self-awareness and personal growth
- People who want to change something in life but don’t know where to start
- People who feel kind of stuck in life
- People who want to boost their creativity
Inspiration for how to get started
Actually, I just have one advise. Just start. But if you need any inspiration which helps you to get started here are my personal thoughts which might be helpful.
Get Journal and Pen
Chose a pen and a journal, it doesn’t need to be anything fancy. However, I would recommend to choose materials that feel good to use — especially if you anticipate difficulty getting into the journaling habit. But don’t make it a reason not to start, you can adjust along the way.
When should I journal?
Finding the right time to journal is maybe the most crucial part of establishing a consistent practice. While some people prefer to journal in the morning as a way to set intentions for the day ahead, others find solace in journaling at night as a way to reflect on their experiences. However, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to journaling, and it's essential to discover what works best for you.
Consider your daily routine and identify moments that naturally lend themselves to journaling. Maybe it's during your lunch break when you have a moment of solitude, or perhaps it's in the evening when you can unwind and decompress. Experiment with different times of the day and see how each affects your mindset and creativity. Remember, there's no right or wrong time to journal; what matters most is finding a time that allows you to be fully present with your thoughts and emotions.
You have to make it a priority; even if it means journaling in the bathroom
After experimenting with different times of the day and exploring various journaling techniques, I discovered that finding a routine was a bit challenging especially after becoming a fresh mom. With the demands of caring for a newborn, my schedule was unpredictable, and I needed a journaling approach that could fit seamlessly into my life. That's when I stumbled upon the concept of Morning Pages by Julia Cameron.
As described by Julia Cameron in "The Artist's Way," Morning Pages involve writing three pages of stream-of-consciousness writing first thing in the morning. It's a practice that allows me to clear my mind, express my thoughts and feelings, and set a positive tone for the day ahead. Despite the early wake-up calls and sleep deprivation, I found solace in those quiet morning moments with my journal and pen.
However, being a new mom meant that finding those peaceful moments wasn't always easy. Sometimes, it meant sneaking into the bathroom or a secluded corner of the house to steal a few minutes of tranquility. Those brief escapes became my sanctuary, providing me with the much-needed quiet space to connect with myself and pour my thoughts onto the page.
It's important to acknowledge that each person's circumstances and challenges may differ. Some may have more opportunities for uninterrupted journaling time, while others may need to be more creative in finding those quiet moments. Whether it's the bathroom, a park bench, or during nap times, the key is to seize those opportunities and make the most of them.
My answers to Journaling Blocks
'I don't have time'
- Be creative, even if it means to escape in the bathroom
- Check your screen time on social media and ask again: Do I really not have 5 minutes to carve?
- Fact is also: We make time for the things we want to do in life
'I am not a writer'
- Its meant for your eyes only
- Just let your pen flow and don’t go back and correct. You want to keep the flow going
- Remember that it's not about your writing abilities. It's a personal practice meant for your eyes only, where you can freely express yourself without worrying about spelling or grammar. Journaling is about capturing your thoughts and emotions authentically, without judgment. It's a safe space for self-reflection and personal growth, so let go of any concerns about perfection and embrace the rawness of your inner world.
I don't know how to start
If you're unsure how to start journaling, try these simple techniques:
- Find journaling prompts online or in books to inspire your writing.
- Write about Your Day: Reflect on the events, emotions, and experiences of your day.
- Explore Emotions: Focus on your present emotions or delve into a specific feeling. E.g. How do I feel today?
- Write Freely: Let your thoughts flow without worrying about grammar or structure. Is there something you think about more recently?
- Start with a Quote: Begin with an inspiring quote and reflect on its meaning for you.
- Reflect on a Question: Pose a question to yourself and explore possible answers. E.g. I dont feel comfortable after meeting this specific person? Why?
In the beginning, journaling may feel like work or an additional task to complete. However, just like brushing your teeth, it's important to make it a priority. Initially, it may require effort to establish the habit, but with consistency and dedication, journaling becomes as natural as maintaining oral hygiene. By giving journaling the priority it deserves, you open the door to self-reflection, emotional processing, and personal growth. Treat it as a valuable investment in your well-being, making it a non-negotiable part of your routine. As you commit to this practice, you'll discover the transformative power it holds—bringing clarity, peace, and a deeper understanding of yourself. So, persist through the initial stages, and soon you'll experience the profound benefits that come with making journaling a priority in your life.
I transformed the simple journaling into a cherished ritual
After five years of faithfully journaling, my practice has transformed into a cherished ritual that holds a special place in my heart. What once began as stolen moments in the bathroom has now evolved into a dedicated space filled with intentional elements that bring me joy and serenity.
It begins with the gentle glow of a Japanese candle, casting a serene ambiance around me. As I hold a mug that brings me joy, filled with a comforting beverage, I feel a sense of warmth and contentment. The soft melodies of music weave through the air, guiding my thoughts and emotions as they flow onto the pages. In this sacred space, I find solace, inspiration, and a deeper connection with myself.
But beyond these physical elements, the most significant aspect of my ritual is the dedication of uninterrupted time solely for journaling. I've come to realize that creating a safe and sacred space requires carving out moments that are exclusively reserved for self-reflection and self-expression. Whether it means waking up a little earlier in the morning or seeking solitude during the day, I honor myself by prioritizing this time and space.
As I reflect on the evolution of my journaling ritual, I am grateful for the profound impact it has had on my well-being and personal growth. Each candle, each sip of tea or coffee, each note of music, and each dedicated moment serves as a reminder of the importance of honoring and nurturing my inner world.
I invite you to embark on your own journey of creating a journaling ritual. Find elements that resonate with your spirit—whether it's candles, beverages, music, or other sensory delights. Dedicate time solely for this practice and allow it to become your sanctuary for self-reflection and self-care. Embrace the transformative power of rituals and let them guide you on a profound path of healing, discovery, and personal evolution.
Remember, journaling is a personal journey, and it's all about finding what works best for you, even if it means adapting to the constraints of motherhood. Embrace those stolen moments, however brief, as precious gifts of self-care and self-expression. As a new mom, your journal can become a trusted companion and a source of solace amidst the beautiful chaos of motherhood. By making journaling a priority, you carve out precious time for self-reflection and self-care.
These my 'go-to' tools:
Journal: Moleskine Plain which I always ingrave with my name; I am sure here are more beautiful versions. Link to Moleskin.
Pen: I love the Kaweco Rollerball
Mug: Mugs by Miyelle